Easter Simnel Cake

If wrapped in foil or stored in an air-tight tin, this dense fruit cake will keep fresh for about a week. The 11 marzipan balls represent the true apostles – there’s not one for Judas.


175g (6oz) butter, plus extra for greasing
500g (1lb 2oz) marzipan
175g (6oz) light brown sugar
4 large eggs
250g (8oz) plain flour
1/2tsp baking powder
50g (2oz) ground almonds
300g (11oz) mix of raisins, sultanas and currants
50g (2oz) candied peel, chopped
1 lemon, zest only
2tsp mixed spice
2tbsp milk
2tbsp brandy
1tbsp apricot jam


  • Grease a 18cm (7in) loose-bottomed cake tin with butter and double line the base and sides. Roll out a third of the marzipan into a round the size of the cake tin and set aside.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add 3 eggs while beating.
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in the almonds. Add the rest of the ingredients, apart from the apricot jam and the last egg.
  • Spoon half the mixture into the cake tin, place the rolled out piece of marzipan on top, pressing lightly, then cover with the rest of the cake mix. Make a slight dip in the top of the mixture to stop it rising when cooking.
  • Bake on the middle shelf of the oven at Gas 3/170°C/325°F for about 90 mins, or until set and nicely browned. Allow to cool.
  • Roll out half the remaining marzipan to the size of the cake. Spread a thin layer of apricot jam on the top of the cake and lightly press the marzipan on top, crimping the edges.
  • Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 balls. Beat the last egg and use to brush the cake top, then stick on the marzipan balls.
  • Put under a medium grill for 1 to 2 mins to glaze.
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